How can you disconnect & reconnect this holiday season?
“The WIFI is out,” “I think the internet just went down,” “I don’t have any service,” “Can you hear me now?” These are common fears amongst many people in our world today as we strive to stay connected.
As a professor who teaches marketing and digital marketing in the School of Professional Studies at North Park University, I realize that we are dependent on our devices and many of us are connected 24/7. However, what if instead of panicking when the internet goes down, we looked at it as an opportunity? Like when the power goes out and you are forced to sit around a candle or lantern and play a board game, read a book, cuddle up with blankets and actually talk with each other. If you are like me when this happens, I often don’t want the power to come back on. Well, we have that opportunity coming soon, we call them holidays.
In no other time in our history have we been this digitally connected, through social media, texting, and smartphones, we live in an age of constant global connectivity, yet research is showing we are increasingly feeling more alone, and sensing a reduction of human connection. Marian Rose, wrote an article on the Science of Human Connection and Wellness in a Digitally Connected World and states “Psychologists see a pattern in this success-driven culture of busyness and the associated ‘connection disconnection’ of an increasingly digitally remote world, and it’s triggering what they say is rapidly becoming a dire epidemic of loneliness . . . it seems that quality personal time for ourselves and for nurturing our relationships has become increasingly more elusive” (M. Rose, 2017).
The question is, though we are digitally and globally connected by investing in this communication, are we actually hurting our personal and human connections?
As a professor, my job is to help my students learn how to create digital content that forces people to pay attention to their digital ads, click on links, and spend as much time connecting to products and services as possible. However, I also teach Digital and Business Ethics and my job is to help students recognize the balance and the importance of communicating face to face and making those human connections. Therefore, I would challenge you this holiday season to focus on each other. To put the phone down, turn the computer off, and let the digital world spin without you for one day. It may allow you to connect with a family or a friend in a unique way and if nothing else, really listen to them and allow you to show them kindness with your ears.
If that doesn’t work, you can always turn off the WIFI router and see what happens. Who knows, you may connect with your friends and family in ways you never thought was possible . . . “Keep calm the internet is off.”
North Park is a city-centered, intercultural, and Christian university located in Chicago. Dr. Trevor James is the associate dean, business faculty and director in the School of Professional Studies. Dr. James teaches a number of classes, such as Marketing, Digital and Social Media Marketing, and Digital/Business Ethics.
The School of Professional Studies offers bachelor’s degree completion programs in business administration, counseling psychology, criminal justice, digital marketing, location intelligence, nonprofit management, and organizational management and leadership. For more information about the School of Professional Studies go to www.northpark.edu/sps.